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Gwinnett County Gets State's First "IE2" Contract

 MEDIA CONTACTS:  - Governor Perdue's Press Office, (404) 651-7774 - GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 463-1487,       January 8, 2009 – The State Board of Education today approved a five-year contract with Gwinnett County Public Schools that grants the school district greater flexibility in exchange for increased accountability.     The contract was made possible by Governor Sonny Perdue’s Investing in Educational Excellence (IE2) legislation, which was passed and signed into law last year. IE2 allows school systems more local control regarding important education decisions and expenditures. Gwinnett, which educates nearly 10 percent of the state’s students, is the first school system to accept the challenge of linking accountability with increased flexibility.     “I commend Superintendent Wilbanks and the Gwinnett County Board of Education for their willingness and courage to be held to a higher standard,” said Governor Perdue. “This contract fundamentally shifts the state-local relationship from being based on compliance to a true partnership focused on performance. IE2 is about increasing student achievement, and I am confident that Gwinnett will use its flexibility to deliver superior results and be a model district for the state.”     State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox, who recommended approval of the contract, called the IE2 contract an exciting moment in Georgia education that redefines the partnership between the state and local school districts.     "At the state level, we must set high standards and expectations for our students, and we have done that. But we do not need to tell our school systems exactly how to meet those standards and expectations," Superintendent Cox said. "We have to trust that our educators at the local level know what's best for their students and allow them the flexibility they need to get the job done."     "This contract is the place where flexibility and accountability meet for the benefit of students."     Under IE2 local school districts work with the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to create a strategic plan that clearly identifies the flexibility sought from Georgia education laws, the accountability goals in addition to federal NCLB requirements the district is willing to accept at the school level in exchange for the flexibility, and the consequences that will be imposed upon the district for schools that do not reach their accountability goals.     The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement will monitor Gwinnett County’s progress towards meeting annual goals and will report these findings to the SBOE each fall. In addition, Gwinnett will provide interventions and sanctions throughout the contract period to those schools that do not meet their annual IE2 accountability goals. Those schools that do not meet their IE2 accountability goals by the end of the contract period will be converted to charter schools.     Gwinnett County's IE2 contract goes into effect for the 2009-2010 school year.    MORE INFORMATION   -  State Board Rule